The dour expression gave away the plot. Making his way to a quiet corner of the annexe, the leading pro let go.
The sudden transfer of weight on the plastic chair had it creaking, but the protests fell on deaf ears. Head in the hands, he stayed still till his mental trainer came along and broke the stupor with a tap on the shoulder. The two then went into a huddle, dissecting the day in hushed tones.
At a distance, a conversation had started on staying impervious to a bad round. Fresh from submitting a card of 64, Shamim Khan made it clear that technical fads like mental conditioning are not for him.
It wasn’t as if he was trying to play down the exercise underway several tables away. In fact, in between, he threw sympathetic glances at the student-coach duo. Keeping it simple is what has worked for him in his 17 years as a professional.
Keep moving ahead
“Rather than sulk, the way for me is to identify the problem areas and move on. With experience, a player should realise that if he starts to rue the misses, he would cease to play golf. If he returns a sub-par card one day, the same pair of hands and clubs can go over-par as well,” he said, putting into perspective his opening day at the BILT Open.
The near-flawless card, which allowed him a single-stroke cushion, did not warrant such talk but the 34-year-old was already preparing himself for Thursday.
Such was the momentum that rarely did he find the bushes on Wednesday, but disaster could be lurking at the next bend here.
The years of turning out at the Delhi Golf Club have taught Shamim the art of staying afloat.
“Finding the bushes on consecutive occasions can be devastating, and can cause a fade away.” It isn’t as if he’s not been through this, but the bailout lies in a quick change of strategy.
“If a particular club isn’t working, there is no point in persisting with it. Pull out another one and move on,” he said.
Having said so, he moved on to what’s been a source of bother. Sinking short putts has been a traditional weakness, and excessive movement of the wrist had curbed his putting prowess at last week's CG Open. Time was short, yet Shamim tried to address the problem. The eagle and seven birdies showed the effort had not been in vain.